Easy Name Tag

The UPS Man

Photos by Will Robson-Scott

Easy has been writing his name on the streets of New York since the ’80s. He retired some years ago, but now he’s un-retired. Son is all city.

Easy is a nickname that was given to me by females when I was in school. Because I was kinda laid-back and cool. It was like “Hey, Easy.” I was cool with it. I’m never mad at the ladies. I first started writing in 1982 under the name of LC. My brother got me into graffiti. I was totally against it at first — I wasn’t into writing on trains or property. But I went out on a little journey with my brother on the trains; I put my name up. Boom, boom, boom! I’d seen my tags when I was going to school one day and I was like “wow.” From that day on, I started loving this art form.

Josh 5 and Gast were my first partners. After that, it was me and Joz. And then TeKay TNR got involved … That was when we just lost our minds. We focused on the trains — mainly the 3 line — and the streets. But back in the ‘80s, we got a lot of attention on the streets because there weren’t a lot of people doing it at the time. And we were going pretty hard.

Me, Josh 5 and Gast started doing streets in 1983. As far as guys who were doing streets, back in the ‘80s you had Pre Sweet, Flasher, OE, Prince EA, Bio, Become Catholic, Arise, Lil Man, Trim, Trech, Chino BYI, Saint TMR. The streets were dangerous back then. New York was the wild, wild west. The crack era was in full swing.

You could be putting your name up on a wall but someone else might be thinking you’re putting up a sign to kill somebody … We got chased by tons of people, man. We would go to suburban areas where people were pretty much racist. Then they would call the cops on us and make up bogus accusations.

One time, me, Gast, Chama and Joz got off on the last stop on the 2 train. We did our thing as we walked up towards Yonkers. A pickup truck tried to run Joz over. Ten minutes later, we saw like 12 cop cars coming at us. That was nerve-racking. They thought we were up to some other criminal activities. They took us to the precinct. They kept Joz and Chama because they were too young to get released. Meanwhile, I still had my cans on me. They didn’t search me thoroughly enough. I always kept my cans tucked in nicely at my back. But they didn’t care about the graffiti because of the initial accusations. They thought we were trying to break into people’s homes.

I really don’t like talking about myself, but it was amazing back then. It wasn’t just writers who noticed me back then, but rappers and actors … that’s how I met KRS One. He was a writer so he knew what was up. But then there was Rakim and LL [Cool J] — I’d heard that they wanted to meet me, too. Which blew me away, because I didn’t really think that people noticed what we were doing. Writing was just something we did for fun. The fame I had back then was just wild.

Spray cans, spray cans, spray cans — that was my life back then. I was pretty much addicted more than anybody in my crew. There were times when these guys didn’t want to bomb and I’d go to the train yards or the streets by myself. I had a real graffiti problem. I had moved out of New York for some years and when I moved back in 2010, I was praying that I wouldn’t get that problem again. But unfortunately, it’s there. It’s hard to kick.

Joz had an issue with a guy who wrote Seze; Joz went over him one time, and he destroyed Joz’s stuff all over the place. Joz also had an issue with PJay—PJay would put his P’s in front of Joz’s J’s. Joz was on a manhunt for those two guys. Me? I had a little beef with Cap MPC on the trains. But who didn’t have beef with that guy?

I never really quit. When I moved to Virginia I was still doing a little something, but there was no one else down there who did at the time. I stopped for a few years after Joz passed away. He died because of an asthma attack back in 2002. His passing devastated me. I’m still devastated, actually. I almost shared that same fate last year. I was that close from passing away myself. Both of my lungs collapsed. Pneumonia. I don’t wear a respirator when I paint but whenever I spray I hold my breath.

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